Afton council to politicians: ante up to march in paradeAfton’s annual Fourth of July Parade could be less political this summer.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Afton’s annual Fourth of July Parade could be less political this summer.
Afton City Council approved two recommendations during its April 19 meeting presented by the Fourth of July Committee.
The first recommendation was to increase the vendor fee from $30 to $50.
“Compared to other parades, this is not unreasonable,” Mayor Pat Snyder said.
The second recommendation City Council voted on was to charge politicians a $50 fee to march in the parade.
Previously Afton did not charge politicians and according to Council Member Peg Nolz Afton was the only parade that didn’t.
“They really don't bring anything to the parade,” Mayor Pat Snyder said.
City Council member Randy Nelson disagreed.
“I do think they bring something,” he said. “It's a chance to interact.”
In addition to charging the $50 fee, City Council also approved limiting political supporters to 10 and one vehicle.
Last year Afton’s Fourth of July Parade had 13 politicians and many brought with them 50 or so supporters, Nolz said.
City Council member Joe Richter questioned Afton’s City Attorney whether or not it was legal to charge politicians since the parade is free for all other participants. Richter questioned if charging violated First Amendment rights.
City Attorney Fritz Knaak said charging politicians is not illegal.
Richter also questioned whether or not charging politicians would cause more to simply walk down the sidewalks shaking hands and handing out literature.
City Council member Bill Palmquist said he was in favor of charging the politicians.
“Everyone else is just doing it for fun, but for (the politicians) they are deriving a great benefit,” he said.